Here’s everything you need to know for planning a trip to Yellowstone National Park in September.
This Yellowstone National Park travel guide will help you plan your September vacation: things to see, do and photograph as well as what to pack, where to stay and services available.
Keep reading for all the information you need about visiting Yellowstone in September and the fun outdoor activities you can do!
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Yellowstone National Park Packing List
FREE DOWNLOAD: Printable Yellowstone Packing Lists
- Merrell Moab hiking shoes or Oboz hiking shoes
- Darn Tough hiking socks
- Water – carry a hydration pack or a refillable water bottle in your backpack
- Healthy food that’s portable and filling!
- Columbia fleece jacket
- Wicking, quick-drying clothing
- Lip balm with UV protection
- Sun protection – sunscreen (even in the winter) and a sunhat
- UV sunglasses are good for summer and winter
- Travel hand sanitizer
- Flashlight or headlamp
- US National Park travel guides and maps
- First aid kit
- Insect repellent
- Camera gear – DOWNLOAD the free checklist!
Check out this resource if you’ll be packing for a winter vacation in Yellowstone
Visiting Yellowstone National Park in September
In September you’ll find all the park roads, services, and campgrounds are open so it’s one of the best times to visit Yellowstone National Park.
Visitation numbers in September are high so be prepared for crowds during the day. We always recommend entering the park early in the morning, or even later in the afternoon.
Yellowstone Weather in September
The average temperatures in September at Yellowstone are highs in the upper 60s and lows in the upper 30s degrees Fahrenheit.
Be prepared for rain or snow at any time in September. It also doesn’t hurt to pack winter gloves, winter hat, winter coat and fleece jacket – wear layers since the mornings and evenings will be cool.
How Long Should I Plan My Yellowstone Vacation?
We suggest you plan to go for at least 4-5 days to really experience Yellowstone. This way you are not rushed and you can be a little more patient with the crowds of people knowing you have time to see everything.
Not only that, but 4-5 days gives you time to relax, fish, hike, and really experience Yellowstone for everything it has to offer! Here’s our favorite Yellowstone 4 day itinerary!
Things to Do at Yellowstone in September
Here’s a list of things to do at Yellowstone National Park when you visit in September!
Hiking at Yellowstone in September
Before exploring any Yellowstone hiking trails in September, we recommend you check with the rangers at the Visitor Center to get current trail conditions. Also tell someone your hiking destination, route, and estimated time of return.
Stay on trails: taking shortcuts causes trail erosion and is dangerous. In hydrothermal areas, stepping on thin crust may plunge you into boiling water.
Here’s a list of hikes in Yellowstone by region:
- Mammoth Hot Springs
- Old Faithful
- Canyon Area Day Hikes at Yellowstone
- Lake and Fishing Bridge
- Tower and Northeast
- West Thumb and Grant
- What to Bring on a Day Hike
- Hiking Gear and Tips for Kids
- Winter Clothing for Hiking
- Photography Gear for Hiking
- Best Cameras for Hiking
Yellowstone Waterfalls in September
Most of the Yellowstone waterfalls don’t require hiking to see them. In September the water flow is lower than other times of year, but it doesn’t make them any less spectacular! Here’s a list of the main waterfall attractions in the park:
- Canyon: Lower and Upper Falls, Brink of Upper Falls
- Firehole Falls
- Gibbon Falls
- Kepler Cascades
- Lewis Falls
- Moose Falls
- Tower Fall
- Undine Falls
Yellowstone Geysers and Hot Springs in September
Any time of year is a good time to see the hydrothermal features in Yellowstone: geysers, hot springs, mudpots, travertine terraces and fumaroles. Check out the NPS website for the latest geyser eruption predictions!
Here’s a list of the best locations to see these these unique features:
- Old Faithful, Upper and Lower Geyser Basin
- Grand Prismatic (Midway Geyser Basin)
- Norris Geyser Basin
- West Thumb Geyser Basin
- Mud Volcano
- Fountain Paint Pot
- Mammoth Hot Springs
Wildlife at Yellowstone in September
Around the second week of September, you’ll begin to hear the high pitched bugle of bull elk signaling the elk rut! The town of Mammoth is a terrific place to watch the male elk exert their dominance.
Bears return to the lower elevations looking for berries and bull bison or elk that perished during the rut. Migratory hawks and eagles begin to travel south and west for the winter.
We’ve put together this resource of the best time to visit yellowstone for wildlife in case you want to see a specific animal in the park.
Remember the parameters to keep you and the animals safe!
- Never approach animals. The animals in Yellowstone are wild and unpredictable, no matter how calm they appear to be.
- The safest (and often best) view of wildlife is from inside a car. Always stay at least 100 yards (91 m) away from bears and wolves, and at least 25 yards (23 m) away from all other animals, including bison and elk.
- Never feed wildlife. Animals that become dependent on human food may become aggressive toward people and have to be killed. Keep all food, garbage, or other smelly items packed away when not in use.
- Never park in the road or block traffic. Use pullouts to watch wildlife and let other cars pass. Stay with your vehicle if you encounter a wildlife jam.
Yellowstone Photography in September
We recommend you have your camera ready to go because the wildlife you may see as you drive through the park won’t wait for you to find the camera in your car.
In September you’ll also want to photograph the geysers, hot pools, waterfalls and rivers. Here are some tips for taking pictures at Yellowstone.
Other Yellowstone Activities
Yellowstone & Grand Teton AUDIO TOUR
“Download the app to your phone – no cell or wifi service needed. Based on your GPS location, the app takes you on a guided tour of the park and points out all the interesting features and stops. It’s like having a park ranger in the car with you.”
Places to Visit at Yellowstone in September
Did you know that Yellowstone is divided into regions? To avoid a ton of driving, here’s a list of the places to visit and things to do in each region to help make planning easier! Check out our done-for-you: 4-day Yellowstone Vacation Planner!
Here’s a list of places to visit in the Yellowstone National Park Southern Loop and Northern Loop.
Yellowstone Visitor Centers
There are ten Yellowstone Visitor Centers and information stations throughout the park. Talk with a ranger, learn about the park through exhibits and interpretive offerings, or get oriented to the things you can do at the park.
Yellowstone Regions: Services and Attractions
There are various regions or areas throughout Yellowstone. Each one has different lodging options, services and things to do!
- Scenic Drives: Dunraven Pass, North Rim Drive, and South Rim Drive
- Hydrothermal Feature: Mud Volcano
- Natural Features: Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, Hayden Valley, and Mount Washburn
- Visitor Services: Canyon Campground, Canyon Lodge, Canyon General Store, and Canyon Visitor Education Center
- Waterfalls: Lower Falls, Silver Cord Cascades, and Upper Falls
- Day Hikes, Wildlife Watching
- Scenic Drives: Gull Point Drive and Lake Butte Scenic Drive
- Hydrothermal Features: Mud Volcano and Steamboat Point
- Natural Features: Mary Bay, Natural Bridge, Sedge Bay, Storm Point, Sylvan Pass, and Yellowstone Lake
- Visitor Services: Bridge Bay Campground, Bridge Bay Marina, Fishing Bridge General Store, Fishing Bridge Visitor Center, Fishing Bridge RV Park, Lake General Store, Lake Hotel and Cabins, and Lake Lodge Cabins
- Day Hikes, Fishing and Boating
- Scenic Drives: Firehole Canyon Drive and Firehole Lake Drive
- Hydrothermal Features: Fountain Paint Pot, Grand Prismatic Spring, Great Fountain Geyser, Midway Geyser Basin, Terrace Springs, and White Dome Geyser
- Natural Features: Firehole Canyon, National Park Mountain, Madison River, and Purple Mountain
- Visitor Services: Madison Campground, Madison Information Station, and West Yellowstone Visitor Information Center
- Waterfalls: Fairy Falls and Firehole Falls
- Day Hikes and Fishing
- Scenic Drives: Blacktail Plateau Drive and Upper Terrace Drive
- Historic Areas: Apollinaris Spring, Fort Yellowstone (historic US Army headquarters, now park headquarters), and Obsidian Cliff
- Hydrothermal Features: Boiling River, Canary Springs, and Mammoth Hot Springs
- Natural Features: Bunsen Peak, Mount Everts, Sheepeater Cliffs, and Swan Lake Flat
- Visitor Services: Albright Visitor Center, Indian Creek Campground, Mammoth Campground, Mammoth General Store, and Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and Cabins
- Waterfalls: Rustic Falls, Undine Falls, and Wraith Falls
- Day Hikes
Yellowstone Maps and Guides at Amazon:
Yellowstone Tours and Day Trips
- Yellowstone Tours
- Yellowstone Summer Tours
- Day Trips at Yellowstone
- Outdoor Activities at Yellowstone
- Attractions at Yellowstone
Places to stay in West Yellowstone
- Holiday Inn, West Yellowstone
- ClubHouse Inn, West Yellowstone
- Kelly Inn, West Yellowstone
- West Yellowstone hotels!
Places to stay in Gardiner
- Yellowstone Gateway Inn, Gardiner – full kitchen and comfy bed, one of our favorite places to stay!
- Park Hotel Yellowstone, Gardiner – charming place to stay and loved by guests!
- Absaroka Lodge, Gardiner – beautiful location with river views!
- Gardiner hotels!
Places to stay in Cooke City or Silver Gate
- Sunny Log Home on the Creek, Silver Gate (VRBO) – the most AMAZING location with an awesome fireplace and comfy bed!
- High Country Motel and Cabins – local owners who love what they do, and make you feel so welcome!
- Rent an RV – have it dropped off at your vacation destination!